England local elections: May relieved, Corbyn questioned and Lib-Dem surging

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A swing to the Conservatives in pro-Brexit areas like Peterborough and the industrial regions across central England will be taken as a much-needed endorsement of May's European Union exit strategy.

Meanwhile, Tories picked up seats outside London, partly by exploiting a collapse in support for the right-wing ailing U.K. Independence Party, which has struggled to stay relevant since the Brexit referendum in 2016.

Elsewhere in London, Labour failed where they should have succeeded.

Andrew Castle was left questioning Jeremy Corbyn's position as leader of the Labour Party after its lower-than-expected performance at the local elections this week.

"We've done better than expected", Conservative Party chairman Brandon Lewis told Sky News television.

Matt Singh of Number Cruncher Politics noted: "Opposition parties are supposed to do well in mid-term contests, and these aren't the results of one that's about to storm the next general election".

Labour had entered the election with high hopes of victories in the capital, but in Barnet, there was clear evidence of voters from the area's large Jewish community turning their backs on the party after it became embroiled in allegations of anti-Semitism.

May's party kept control of Wandsworth council - a low-tax Conservative stronghold since the time of late prime minister Margaret Thatcher that had been one of Labour's main targets.

Votes in the local elections equated to a 35% share for both Labour and the Conservatives.

Labour's number of Nuneaton seats fell by 25 to 17, while the Conservatives' went up from seven to 16, depriving Labour of control.

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The BBC's projection suggests that if the result was repeated at a general election there would be another hung parliament with Labour on 283 seats in the Commons compared with the Conservatives' 280.

The Conservative vote is up by 13 points where more than 60 percent backed Leave, showing that the collapsed UKIP vote swung disproportionately behind the Tory party.

On a victory tour in London, May said Labour "threw everything at it, but they failed", while adding: "We won't take anything for granted".

Labour is already in control of 21 London boroughs, with some pollsters predicting the Conservatives could lose as many as 100 seats across the British capital.

Mr Corbyn said his party had put in a "solid" performance and was now well on the way to being able to form the next government.

What the Prime Minister didn't say on Friday, however, was that more people voted Labour than Tory in the borough, with the Conservatives hanging on to a council they've held for 40 years by virtue of the way the three wards are divided.

The Conservatives held Kensington and Chelsea, where the council had faced severe criticism over last year's devastating Grenfell Tower fire that killed 71 people, with a slightly reduced majority.

The Conservatives took control of councils in Basildon and Peterborough, but lost Trafford, in Greater Manchester, and the Mole Valley.

Brexit-backing Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson highlighted Tory success in Leave-voting, pushing the case for Mrs May to stick to her course on leaving the single market and customs union.

The Greens managed to take two seats from Labor in Sheffield and took seats from the Conservatives in the London borough of Richmond-upon-Thames. Sir Vince said the Lib Dems were "very much on the way back".